1_TargetWalleye blasts

Ukraine best ice fishermen, Pigs of the week, Zebra mussels change bite

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Today’s Top 5

Ukraine has the best ice fishermen…

…this year, anyway. The “Big Show” of ice fishing — the World Ice Fishing Championship — just went down in Riga, Latvia, and it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. It’s a manual drill, small-fish deal…basically fishing for fish the size of American bait. #UltraFinesse

What’s more incredible is that they catch ’em using these contraptions:

Team USA finished in 8th place, but for sure won best-dressed:

Nicely done guys! Lots more pics and info here, but it definitely looks intense…glad you made it back in one piece:

Paunchy pigs of the week!

World walleye champ Randy Gaines held an Off Shore Tackle Planer Board meeting on Lake Erie, OH and sacked up 5 ‘eyes weighing a combined 61.1 lbs — whoa:

Gary and Pete finished 10th at the Perch Assault tourney on Lake Cascade, ID with an interestingly-easy technique: Rigging deadsticks on Jaw Jackers [automatically sets the hook] and dropping BaitCloud balls down the hole to keep fish close:

Ryker DeBernardi had a trip of a lifetime fishing with dad and captain Brian Markham on Lake Erie. They were pulling Bandits and Smithwick Perfect 10s in 40′ — snapweighted “20-20” to target fish suspended 15′ down. Here’s Ryker’s 12.3- and 15-lbers. #ProudDadMoment

Shane Schluck’s chameleon perch next to his Striker Ice Climate Jacket:

Ice-fish deeper on lakes with zebra mussels.

Zeebz come in and change the whole ecosystem of the lake. “My grandpa used to catch ’em here” will only work for so long — fish aren’t going to be in the same spots they used to be.

Why? Zeebz filter the water, which increases water clarity and allows vegetation to grow deeper. So the fish are moving deeper and so should you. Clearer water can also make fish “more smarter.”

Jon Thelen likes using baits like the Lindy Quiver Spoon because it’s made out of tin and has a slow-fluttery drop that looks natural to ’em, like a minnow.

> Jon: “One side is either metallic silver or metallic gold. So you’ve got the flash of a natural minnow, but also a little bit of color you’re adding on the other side.”

 

Here’s the Quiver Spoon in action, puttin’ slabs topside from nearly 50′ in a lake where they used to catch ’em much shallower:

Would you fish this spot?

JJ Malvitz: “Sometimes being an ice guide takes you to some cool places….”

One of those cool places being Sturgeon Bay, WI:

Did that StrikeMaster Lazer Mag nail the photobomb or what.

Does your fishing buddy have your back like this?

Hopefully they were Okuma Ceymars [heart-eyes emoji]. For sure worth the risk!

 

News

1. MI: Bays de Noc hurting.

> “The smelt, burbot and splake are gone. The perch, walleye and northern pike have declined to beyond the critical point.”

 

2. MO: Walleye run/spawn is on.

And they let you fish for ’em during it. #RoadTrip

3. In-Depth Outdoors: Weedline crappies.

The shallow-weed bite started earlier this year thanks to Mother Nature. James punched a bunch of holes on Leech Lake, MN and used the underwater camera on his MarCum LX-9 to get set up RIGHT on the weed edge. #CrappieFest

They were fishing a 1-2 punch of VMC Tungsten Tubby Jigs with Trigger X Minnows, and VMC Tumbler Spoons (glow red shiner). That bite will only get better as the season goes on and the ice gets even sketchier-er.

 

4. MN: Don’t forget your new license!

They expired Feb 28, get on it.

5. Brett King gets Yamaha.

Congrats man!

6. Lund boat-builder tool.

If you’re bored at work (if?? lol), check out the Lund Boat Builder — lets you deck ’em out however you want. We promise not to tell your boss…or wife:

7. Lucky Tackle Box buys Canadian tackle mailer.

And the subscription wars continue….

8. Didja take our walleye survey yet?

Take this quick 1-minute survey and have a shot at winning some awesome Rapala loot — including a pile of Flat Jigs! Just click here to take the survey.

 

Fishing Reports

1. MN: Lake of the Woods.

> A very active bite continues with many good-sized walleyes and saugers. The key depth has been 29-33′ in the morning/afternoon, and 17-24′ before nightfall. The best colors have been glow pink/red or chartreuse.

 

> The Rainy River is open from Birchdale to the east. Some shore ice remains and reports say anglers have already started pushing boats over the ice! [shhh]

 

> Up at the NW Angle: Ice conditions are still favorable with 20-24″ of solid ice in non-current areas. Snow cover is minimal on snowmobile trails but they’re still being groomed and in good condition.

 

> On the MN side: Walleyes are being caught on shallower rock points between 20-24′ as well as deeper mud between 28-30′. A variety of baits in black and gold have been performing very well.

 

The walleye/sauger season is open through April 14, and pike and crappies are open all year for LOW, MN. Gitcha one of these:

2. ND: Devils Lake.

> Things are looking good for the next few weeks — our access points are holding up and we’re currently sitting with a good 24″ of ice.

 

> Walleye fishing has still been good in the early-morning and evening times. The perch fishing has been picking up in the deeper basins in 20-45′. Gold and pink 1/16-oz jigs have been working the best. Use a deadstick/bobber hole next to your jigging hole.

Here’s a pair of 2-lbers caught this week with the Perch Patrol Guide Service:

Tip of the Day

Trolling crankbaits in freezing-cold water.

Brent Long thwacked this paunchy Erie pre-spawner — plus a bunch others — that went 10 lbs 13 oz and measured 31″. Caught her trolling a Bay Rat Lures Long Shallow Diver in some freakishly cold water:

Most don’t think of using crankbaits when the water is just a couple degrees above frozen, but there’s a few things Brent looks for that makes ’em deadly:

> “In the early season I look for dirty water, but I still want to see the cavitation plate on my outboard. On sunny days, that off-colored water will warm more than clear water — sometimes less than a 1-degree difference in water temp will draw the fish to that area.

 

> “With water temps in the low 30s, I keep my trolling speed between 0.8 to 0.9 mph to start. If I don’t pick up fish I’ll increase to a max of 1.2 to 1.3 mph.

> “I run out 20′ of line then attach a 2-oz snapweight. I will adjust the length of the line to the Off Shore Tackle Planer Board from 15′ to 30′ depending on where the biters are in the water column.
> “I prefer to use short-billed lures like Bay Rats’ Long Shallow. Sunny days I like bright colors and chrome finishes — darker days I use darker or muted colors.”
We’re digging the look of those baits, and of course their color names. Clockwise: cheap sunglasses, watermelon, crazy eye and high blood pressure:

 

Yummy. FishUSA has 30 colors in stock right here.

Quote of the Day

Sixty-nine percent of lake-home and cabin-property owners believe there should be an organization to protect walleye fishing in MN — a number of them thought that was one of the purposes of the DNR.

– From an interesting article about the rising cost of living, and how it’s impacting cabin owners and their supposed-to-inherit-the-cabin-but-can’t-afford-to children….

Man, the DNR gets blamed for everything:

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Do people still take sunset pics if they caught fish that day?

Cool shot by Doug Wegner, but next time we hope that Beaver Dam is popped.

Sign up another ice-head!

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Who is Target Walleye/Ice?
Target Walleye/Ice — walleye during open water and all species during hardwater — is brought to you by Al and Ron Lindner, Jim Kalkofen, Brett McComas and other diehard fish nuts like you! #fishheads
Brett McComas is the main man for Target Walleye/Ice. He was discovered in Brainerd, MN after years of wondering how in the heck people break into the fishing biz. He’s in it now, but still can’t answer that question…. Brett is one of those guys who quit sports in high school because they were interfering with his fishing time. Get him at brett@targetwalleye.com

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